The CSA we belong to begins each year in early April with an abundance of leafy greens that will last until July when more robust vegetables - eggplants, tomatoes, summer squash and green beans - replace them. It's in these early weeks that we not only receive what feels like mountains of kale, red orach, baby spinach, and Swiss chard, but also heads of loose-leaf and Romaine lettuces, all watery and crisp.
To make use of our mountain of greens, I serve salads at nearly every meal (including breakfast) until we've exhausted our supply for the week. One of my favorite dishes to make this time of year is Classic Caesar Salad. It's a simple recipe, but bright, crisp and delightfully garlicky.
Why I Love Caesar Salad
Beyond it's sharp, tart-salty flavor and the wonderful play of crunchy croutons on crisp lettuce, Caesar Salad is a delightfully nourishing dish with a lovely combination of egg, anchovy, lemon and raw milk cheese.
Classic caesar salad recipes include anchovies both in the salad itself and in its dressing. Anchovies, like all oily fish, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which support cardiovascular and cognitive function. They are also rich in calcium, selenium and niacin. Like most small fish, anchovies number among the most sustainable seafood choices and are among the fish least likely to be contaminated with ocean pollutants. You can purchase them here.
Raw Garlic, Romaine and Lemon
Raw garlic, romaine and lemon are rich in antioxidants like beta carotene, vitamin C. Garlic is also a powerful immune booster.
Raw Eggs and Raw Milk Cheese
Classic caesar salad dressing also includes raw egg yolk as well as parmesan cheese, which is traditionally prepared from raw milk, and which you can find here. Raw egg yolk is rich in biotin, choline, when from pasture-raised birds, it is also a good source of the antioxidant beta carotene as well as vitamins A and E.
Classic Caesar Salad Recipe
For the Croutons
For the Caesar Dressing
- Warm two tablespoons pastured lard (available here) and two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (available here) together in a skillet over medium-high heat in a pan. Working in batches if you need to, arrange the cubed bread in a single layer in the hot fat of the pan. Allow it to brown on one side, about 3 minutes, before stirring it and allowing it to brown on the remaining sides. Transfer to a dish lined with a kitchen towel and sprinkle with salt. Allow the croutons to cool completely.
- Place garlic, 4 anchovy flets, lemon juice, egg yolk, mustard, 1 cup olive oil, salt and pepper into a blender, and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour into a salad dressing cruet or mason jar, and store in the refrigerator until it's time to prepare the salad.
- Chop the Romain lettuce into bite-sized pieces, add the remaining anchovy filets, parmesan cheese and reserved croutons to the bowl, and toss with salad dressing to coat.
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